Western Storm 143 for 7 (Wilson 40, Farrant 3-23) beat Southern Vipers 142 for 5 (Taylor 44*) by three wickets
Heather Knight moved to the top of the scoring charts, and Western Storm to the Kia Super League summit, as she lead her side to a nervy three-wicket victory over Southern Vipers.
Storm and England skipper Knight has scored 129 runs in the KSL 2019 so far after scores of 41, 50 not out and 38 here. She added 71 with India star Smriti Mandhana for the second wicket, before Fran Wilson’s impeccable 40 off 30 balls took Storm above Vipers and Surrey Stars to the top of the table.
Both sides had come into the clash unbeaten in their opening two KSL fixtures but Storm’s powerful batting line-up proved too strong in front of an almost 1500 strong crowd at the Ageas Bowl.
Stafanie Taylor, Tammy Beaumont and Suzie Bates had given Vipers 142 defend, on the same pitch Somerset had smashed 202 on in the Vitality Blast on Friday night.
In reply, Rachel Priest square cut Lauren Bell to the boundary before the fast bowler exacted her revenge by flattening the New Zealander’s leg stump with an inswinger next ball. Storm motored in the third over as Mandhana’s three boundaries helped take 16 runs off Bell, before Heather Knight slog-swept Taylor for six.
Mandhana and Knight cruised past a fifty partnership, from just 32 balls but the stand ended on 71 as Tash Farrant returned to the attack. Left-armer Farrant found Mandhana swinging to fine leg before Knight was castled four balls later to break the game open again.
But Sophie Luff and Wilson, who eased the pressure with a straight maximum, intelligently ticked off 58 of the remaining 66 runs before the former offered a simple catch to mid-off and Deepti Sharma was run out. With two needed off the last over, Wilson was lbw and Anya Shrubsole lbw to Bates before Sonia Odedra tip-toed Storm over the line with a ball to spare.
Earlier, Tammy Beaumont decided to bat after winning the toss, but Vipers lost Danni Wyatt to the second ball of the match, when Claire Nicholas bowled her with a loopy yorker.
Beaumont and Bates scored carefully in a 66-run stand for the second wicket, with the former the more attacking with a pair of sixes. Curiously the England star had only collected a single maximum in her first three KSL campaigns – she has seven now this year – although she fell attempting an eighth to the deep square rope.
New Zealander Bates was finding timing more difficult, with two boundaries in her 38-ball 33, before she slapped to midwicket and Thea Brookes was caught behind.
At 94 for 4 with just five overs remaining, Vipers needed a pick-me-up and Taylor’s boundary hitting and Maia Bouchier’s quick-running gave it to them. West Indian Taylor thrashed seven boundaries, including a pair of smartly struck sweeps and a beauty over mid-off, in her 44 not out off 28 balls.
Bouchier was run out off the last ball as the hosts posted 142 for 5, to set-up a record chase in the KSL at the Ageas Bowl.